Methods in building up damaged corners

When a board corner is heavily damaged and needs not only consolidation, but rebuilding as well, it is possible to do this with either pulped manilla or paper and effectively remake the board around the corner.

Using a matching repair paper

This method should be used in cases where the board is made from layered papers, pasted together – paste board.

– Find an appropriate matching repair paper to the board, thicker is possibly better.
– Split the board in the middle and insert a large piece of this thicker paper so that it protrudes from the edges, sticking it in place with wheat starch paste.
– Once stuck in place, build up the corner, layer by layer with the matching repair paper. Each piece should exactly match the edge of the board on that particular layer.
– To get an exact match, the edge of the board can be drawn on melinex and then transferred onto the repair paper.
– Eventually the top layer will be reached and the final piece of repair paper should go over the top of the board to secure the corner in place.
– This should then be left to dry between bondina, blotter, board and bulldog clips.
– Once dried, the new corner can be trimmed to match the edge of the board, and sanded to smoothen out.


Using a pulped manilla

This method can be used on a wider range of boards as the pulp will mould into the gaps of the board corners.

– Tear up a thin manilla into small pieces and whizz in a food processor to produce smaller pieces.
– Allow the pieces to soak in hot water for a while, until the bonds between the fibres in the manilla have begun to break down.
– Drain out the water and squeeze until all water is gone. This can now be left to dry and used another day, if not immediately.

– Break off a piece of manilla pulp and rehumidify in hot water for a few minutes.
– Drain off most of the water and chop manilla with a cobblers knife, as it were a herb.
– Squeeze out more of the water and mix the manilla with wheat start paste put aside ready for use.

– Split the board in the middle and insert a large piece of manilla into the split so that it protrudes from the edges, sticking it in place with wheat starch paste.
– Once stuck in place, build up the corner with the pulp and paste. This will have to be done in stages and allowed to dry in-between as the pulp will shrink on drying.
– Ensure the end result is bigger than the board and allow to fully dry.
– One dry, trim the excess and sand the new corner.
– Support the corner with a japanese paper that protrudes over the original board.


4 Replies to “Methods in building up damaged corners”

  1. Another wonderful post.
    Know this, Maudie..

    For every binder who shakes their fist aloft at the abomination of the digital age and it’s supposed threat to their rare trade, there is a binder like me who lives somewhere there is no teacher; no mentor to share the love of paper, leather and cloth. It is the irony of modern life that I get to read on my ipad about your beautiful binding adventures and learn some of the intricacies of the trade I love.

    Thank you.


    1. Sonya, thank you so much for such a lovely comment, I think I might print it out and stick it on my wall – a reminder that there are people all over the world with similar loves and interests.

      Thank you too 🙂

      1. I agree with Sonya. I’m also a bookbinder without a mentor. The irony of learning all I can through the internet is not lost on me! I’m grateful that modern technology can fuel my passion for making books. It’s noble profession and I’m happy as a clam to do it! Thank you Maudie!

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